Army Veterans Help Team Win Gold at 2022 Paralympics

Army Veterans Help Team Win Gold at 2022 Paralympics

Jen Lee tending goal
Photo by: USA Hockey

Two Army veterans are now three-time Paralympic gold medalists after Team USA’s sled hockey team came out on top at the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Jen Lee, the goaltender, and Rico Roman, a forward, had previously won gold at the 2014 and 2018 Paralympics.

On March 13, Team USA’s sled hockey team cemented its dominance with a 5-0 victory over Canada to win the gold medal. This is the team’s fourth consecutive and fifth overall Paralympic title. 

Lee, who competed in the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang and Sochi as the backup goaltender, made his Paralympic debut as the starting goaltender in Beijing and did not waver. 

Jen Lee had 16 saves for his third shutout in his first Paralympics as the starting goaltender,” according to a Team USA press release. “He did not allow a goal in any of his four starts, turning back all 33 shots he faced.” 

The U.S. wheelchair curling team, which featured an Army veteran, ended its 2022 Paralympic run in fifth place, “tied for its second-best finish ever,” according to a Team USA release. 

“It was a nice week, and we finished on a good note. That’s what it’s all about,” said Steve Emt, a two-time Paralympian and Army veteran. “It’s just another growing experience, as in life there’s winning and there’s learning.”

The U.S. holds five of the eight Paralympic gold medals in sled hockey, more than any other country. No other country has more than one gold medal in the sport, which was added to the Games in 1994, according to the Team USA release. 

“I’m going to soak it in and then go to Disney World,” Lee said of how he was going to celebrate. 

For Lee, an Iraq veteran whose left leg was amputated above the knee after a motorcycle accident, the win was the culmination of years of hard work. 

“My parents … saved all their money from Taiwan just for us to … immigrate to the United States to give us a better opportunity,” Lee said in an interview with Bleacher Report. “They sacrificed to give us this freedom, this choice and these opportunities to be where we need to be. No matter how bad, how crappy you feel like your circumstance or situation is, you're still able to make it out because that’s what this country can give you.”

Sixty-seven athletes, including 12 military veterans, represented Team USA at the Games, which ran from March 4–13. Team USA earned 20 medals—six gold, 11 silver and three bronze, according to the team.